NEW YORK – New York City announced relief for taxi medallion owners and drivers to restructure medallion debt and offer payment support.
A $65 million relief fund was created through the federal stimulus to financially support distressed owner-drivers.
Despite going through difficult times during the pandemic, taxi drivers stepped up and assisted the city in getting food to seniors in need and made sure people got around during the toughest time, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“This is a very sad story, and it’s a story with injustice in it because lenders took advantage of these drivers,” the mayor said Monday.
“Many medallion owners are struggling and have asked for assistance from the city,” said Aloysee Heredia Jarmoszuk, commissioner of the Taxi and Limousine Commission.
Up to $20,000 loans will be offered up front to restructure medallion debt and an additional $9,000 will be offered in debt payment support.
Owners can pay this money back over time at 0% interest based on their individual ability, according to Jarmoszuk.
The relief fund allows the city to step up to support owner-drivers, and Mayor de Blasio said lenders should do the same.
Following the mayor’s announcement, the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, said in a statement the relief fund does “absolutely nothing for us,” calling it “a cash bailout for lenders while we are left to drown in debt, foreclosure & bankruptcy. No debt forgiveness. No collective solution. No justice. It’s a disgraceful betrayal from a city that already has blood on its hands.”
De Blasio said the statement speaks volumes, and the city listens to all people’s concerns, but their job is to create a solution that works.
Jarmoszuk reiterated that $65 million is a big investment and they will work quickly to ensure it’s implemented.
As the city continues to reopen, demand for taxi trips begin to increase. Jarmoszuk said the city needs the taxi industry to be healthy and ready to put more taxis on the road.
Owners have been advised to visit the Taxi and Limousine Commission’s website to connect with the TLC resource center and get further assistance.
A vast outreach campaign has also been set up to maximize enrollment in the Paycheck Protection Program.
Taxi drivers and supporters have long called on the mayor for debt-relief assistance, with many of them protesting outside Gracie Mansion last year.
Over the last year, the TLC helped guide licensees to potentially $1.4 billion in support through federal, state and local assistance programs.
Any medallion owners who need assistance or are interested in the program should email: firstname.lastname@example.org